Report on the slave trade and letter.

This is the original manuscript version of Snelgrave’s ‘New Account of some Parts of Guinea, and the Slave Trade’ (1734). Snelgrave made a number of voyages to the West African coast for a variety of employers, the most important being Humphrey Morice (circa 1679–1731), governor of the Bank of England. Snelgrave made at least six successful voyages for Morice. In all, he seems to have carried at least 2718 Africans to the Americas, of whom 402 died en route. On his return he published his book, which is part justification for the slave trade, part instruction manual for slave-ship captains, part political history and part adventure story. This manuscript version contains drafts of two of the three sections of that publication: one is on the series of mutinies he witnessed and the ‘reasonableness’ of the slave trade; the other is an account of the invasion of Ouidah by the Kingdom of Dahomey. A third published section, on Snelgrave’s capture by pirates, was written separately.

Although Snelgrave was a slave trader, he provides an insight into the different ways in which Africans were involved in the slave trade – as the enslaved, as traders and as interpreters, but also as those who resisted Europeans, either by political means or by insurrection on board slave ships. His book was reprinted many times and was attacked by abolitionists many years after his death, as well as being influential in the work of the anti-abolitionists, most notably in Archibald Dalzel’s 'History of Dahomy' (1793).

Record Details

Item reference: WEL/29
Catalogue Section: Artificial collections previously assembled
Level: ITEM
Date made: 1730-01-01 - ?; 1730
Creator: Wellcome
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Your Request

If an item is shown as “offsite”, please allow eight days for your order to be processed. For further information, please contact Archive staff:

Tel: (during Library opening hours)

Click “Continue” below to continue processing your order with the Library team.